Not Without my daughter

Basudha Modak
Posted March 4, 2021 from South Africa

When i started to pen down , I had so many stories to share. But then I realize the pandemic brought be so closer to World Pulse sisters and they have helped me Heal which no therapist could...So before submitting others story, i decided to be as Brave as i could and tell my own, Of a phoenix rising.

My beautiful daughter was born after 14 hours of struggle, and I faced intense trauma and betrayal in the preceding months impending her birth. I was feeling lost, aimless and not even sure if i wanted to live my life...The thought of a child inside me kept me going.

She had a perfect Apgar scale, perfect hands and feet and i was happy , in a long time...The fact that she slept for hours gave me time to stare at her beautiful face .I forgot that i needed time to rest myself ..She was extremely sensitive to the tiniest sounds and would start crying ,sometimes for hours without any genuine reason.

I finally managed to borrow enough money to come over to my parents home for some rest...Those few months were the best periods of my life. She was loved by everyone, and her laughter at three months made me feel that all is right and perfect in my bit of the world...But then my duties were again imposed on me and i had to return back to my in laws house. i fell pregnant again, and underwent an abortion as my daughter was just 4 months old. I was a bit stressed by the fact that she was not tumbling at this stage, but everyone told it does happen...Pushing her up high in the air made her cry diabolically ,and her neck always shivered to hold her head up.. The fact that I had to return to a house of extreme abuse and manipulative behavior yet again, because my parents refused to let me stay there after marriage made me go into an undiagnosed depression( why would someone in a good family have one) 

This forced me and  made me cry, for hours. I just went through life mechanically. Husband was out of the house for weeks as the primary bread winner , and it was just not possible for me to discuss anything at all. I felt choked , and yet fell pregnant again when she was 6 months...This time the doctor advised to keep the child and this pregnancy turned out to b extremely difficult for me...It was my fault for falling pregnant, my daughter not developing,. I must have had bad thoughts while pregnant. I couldn't eat a bit and threw out everything. It took me years to understand this was stress. I appeared lost and cried always and felt and behaved totally crazy. Just due to lack of emotional support. The people I left my family for never thought much of me.

It was all set of rules and regulations that i had to continuously  endure , visits to religious places, fasting  as my daughter was still not talking...These led to me giving birth to my son prematurely .When I returned form the hospital, I found my daughter had stopped laughing as well as crying...She was quite going back and was not interacting, even with me. In the process. i was not lactating and my son was given cows  milk at 15 days , which resulted in him  having a distended stomach and crying for days...We had to do USG at that  age and nothing came out negative.

I was utterly more overwhelmed and suicidal thoughts kept coming on and off, but these two kept me alive...Neurological visits started and she was still not walking...My son at my back and daughter at my hip, that is how those years of my life were...When I had to do therapy at home, and my daughter cried I was rebuked that i am a bad Mom  hurting my daughter...I cried , funny how my life that time was. My one year plus son at the time, supported me .Is it possible , a few of you might ask. yes it is . When you are emotionally bereft, any stick helps you from drowning...And I realized whatever and however far this girl goes in life, she has her brother supporting her always...

All the therapy for hours was accommodated and adjusted with son ,. She never could keep any food down for the first five years of her life, and all the innumerable tests that i had to  beg and suffer extreme abuse  money for, came to nothing conclusive...Clinically nothing has been wrong with her, and so my different types of therapies continued...It has been a long journey of 16 years , and through it all from sitting and doing homework at the park, to cooking magi for us so we don't go hungry, to now able to cook me a complete meal, to play with my daughter once he returns from school, my son has been the support I wished for...If she is not ready to study, he takes the hours  and technique to teach her things,. I am surprised as I am the person reading to find techniques and he does it instinctively...

On my part, I no longer stick to any forum or conversation where I feel my daughter is not accommodated. I don't really mind how many places I am invited. I just dont have the patience to build and sustain relationships with people who have no time for me, and I have to explain and demand inclusion from.

I rather spent my time around people who are ready to understand and grow towards a mutually inclusive society, where no Mom or caregiver  has to ask for acceptance and accommodations..

And  have finally realized, there are communities that are actually invested in helping you grow...That are interested in your daughters well being as much  as I am...There will still be a few black sheep entering, but their voices get silenced by the collective positivity of the others...

I travel to every single outreach, community center or school with my daughter and am no longer ashamed of myself for being a bad mom...Her growth is there for everyone to see, and if you are limited by the fact that she is not yet capable of giving a speech for the benefit of you , I really cant help it .

When I share our struggles people stare in disbelief, as she is nowhere near what she was early on , but it is finally all because of our belief and support for each other. Me and the kids share a bond of sorrow and blood and trauma that we had to sort through ourselves.. No one will understand our pride when she achieves something .It goes deeper than the proud look, it is acknowledgement of us...The journey is still not done, but wherever I go , it is Not without my daughter.






This story was submitted in response to #HerStoryMakesHistory.

Comments 4

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Chinyere Kalu
Mar 05
Mar 05

My God Basudha dear! You are such an amazing fellow. With these challenges you are still so kind and positive. Ever ready to give a helping hand .May the Lord strengthen you more .
Nothing to be ashamed about your daughter,you are a super mum.
Yes,not with our daughter,I totally agree

Basudha Modak
Mar 05
Mar 05

Thank you Chy.I learnt the power of giving from my daughter .

Nini Mappo
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Basudha,
I can almost feel your stress to the pit of my stomach. Your isolation and lack of care at such critical times as birth and recovery is saddening. I am sorry that you had no community to support you so that you could care for yourself and for your children. It is such a beautiful bond that you share with your children, so deep and special. It is like a spring that refreshes and strengthens-- a calm in the storm.

I am sorry for all your losses, the months you lost to worry and stress and self-blame. The energy you lost to false accusations and other people's ignorant opinion, and the subsequent loss of self-worth. And even though you would still miss your daughter's laughter, you still have her, and she you, and what an incredible gift!
Good on you for persevering, for keeping your eyes set on the flicker of hope, the lives of your children. And now, I celebrate your Collective story in the rhythm you have settled into, and the joy and pride it fills you all with. You are raising incredible, caring, innovative, compassionate children. Anyone who says you are a bad mom doesn't know you, or your self-worth, so please don't give them discounts (on your worth and that of your children) by agreeing with them.

And if ever moments of doubt and discouragement strike, as they sometimes do, just look at the glowing faces of your children, there is the evidence that a stranger can never grasp.

Much love to you and your children, mama bear! I celebrate you on this women's day, with love and sparkles in solidarity,

Basudha Modak
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thank you so very much.Every single time I have doubt ,will reread this from you..Being a Mom is incredibly tough and when you have unknown needs added it becomes tougher.She got back her laughter and smile,here in Africa..She has been wholly accepted and loved and her emotions have come back.All I deduce is my trauma affected her .We are going to be there ,very soon ..As long as we have blessings,have learnt to ignore now